Saturday, January 11, 2003

Letter to Jeff

In reply to "Did you die?"

No, I just moved to New Hampshire. I can see why you got them confused. :-)

I've been pretty busy with a four year old and a two month old is a big change for me, not to mention the two "andults" (as Rowan calls grown-ups).

The "big" house
Two nights ago I finally moved into my little cabin. I put a new floor in (with insulation) and built a bed platform, because it was too cold to sleep in there. Even now I can see my breath in the morning.

The snow is about three feet deep, and it keeps coming about once a week. We have to shovel the roof and the walk every time it snows. Hard on the back! This is the "best" snow season they've had in this area in about ten years, they say. They also say "It hasn't been very cold...cold is when it gets below zero." Nice initiation. Next winter I'm going to India, I can tell you that.

My little cabin
To get to my cabin I walk from the main house about two hundred feet through the snow. The path is pretty well packed at the moment, at least until it snows again. The cabin itself is about 9 by 12 feet, and has electricity and a closet. The word cabin makes it sound rustic and quaint, like a log cabin. It's not, but it's got wooden shingles. It sits under a big tree, a stone's throw away from a babbling brook (mostly frozen over).

Bridge over frozen waters
The area is really beautiful, actually. The house is on five acres of forest, stretching back from the road to an orchard. Across the road is a pond, frozen over. Snow covers absolutely everything, and icicles hang from the roof -- some are six feet tall!

7 tons of backache
At seven this morning a big truck came and dropped four cords of wood in the driveway. That's how much Karen & Aaron have already gone through so far this winter, and expect to use it all by Spring. "Do you have an estimate on how much this weighs?" I asked the round-bellied man who had just dumped the wood. He calculated for a minute. "About 14,000 pounds." That's how much wood we'll be hauling in the next four months.

The local teen scene; hoofing it up the hill for each run on a Saturday afternoon. (The church can be spotted in the top center; Temple's temple, if you will.)
The nearest village is a few miles away, but all it's got is a gas station. The nearest town with any sort of culture is about 25 minutes' drive, where there's a natural food store, a pub/cafe where bands play, and a handful of artsy-craftsy shops. We're about 1 1/2 hours from Boston, even though it's in a different state.

We're playing with ideas about living in community. Without me, they'd be what's called a "nuclear family," but a third adult in the house changes the playing field a bit. Ultimately I'd like to be a part of a slightly larger group, but this size suits me for now; it's practice, a community with training wheels.

Karen's into the community idea, Aaron not so much; he's more down to earth. He likes to do things like play music, work, and do home improvements, but he's not one for talking about abstract concepts like intentions, implications, and issues -- words I can hardly utter a sentence without using.

So no, I'm not dead...just assimilating all this new stuff. I can't remember the last time I spent a winter where it felt like winter.